Denver judge refuses to lower bond for Matthew Dolloff, security guard in protest shooting

A Denver District Court judge on Wednesday refused to reduce the $500,000 bond for the security guard who shot and killed a pro-police demonstrator in Denver earlier this month in large part because a Denver Post photographer captured frame-by-frame what happened during the killing.

Those moment-by-moment photographs greatly increase the likelihood that the security guard, Matthew Dolloff, will be convicted, and so increase the risk that Dolloff will refuse to appear in court if released on bond, District Court Judge John Madden IV wrote in a six-page order.

“The precision with which the moment of the charged homicide is captured is unprecedented in the Court’s experience,” Madden wrote.

Dolloff, 30, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Lee Keltner, 49, who was participating in a “Patriot Rally” on Oct. 10 in Civic Center Park. Dolloff was working as a contracted security guard for 9News at the time, although he was not licensed to provide security services in Denver.

Madden found that the Denver Post photographs do not support Dolloff’s claim that he acted in self-defense when he shot Keltner, who had slapped him in the face a moment before the shooting, and who appeared to be spraying pepper spray at Keltner as Keltner shot him.

“The evidence of which the Court is presently aware appears to show that, at the time of the shooting, there was no danger from the victim that placed the Defendant or anyone else in imminent risk of death or great bodily injury, and that the victim was backing away from the Defendant holding a can of mace,” Madden wrote, although he emphasized that there will be significantly more evidence considered as the case goes forward, and said that additional evidence could prompt him to reconsider reducing bond.

Dolloff has no previous criminal history, is recently married and has lived in Colorado since 2004, along with his immediate family. He does not present a safety threat to the community, Madden wrote. If convicted of second-degree murder, he faces a mandatory sentence of between 16 and 48 years in prison followed by five years on parole.

In a lengthy hearing discussing bond last week, Dolloff’s attorneys argued he should be granted a $25,000 to $50,000 bond because they said Dolloff clearly acted in self defense and said he could return to his job as a security guard if released.

Madden, however, said “such employment is not acceptable” because the charges against Dolloff stem from an incident that happened while he was on the job. He also ruled that if Dolloff pays the half-million-dollar bond, he cannot possess or own a firearm while his case is pending.

The $500,000 bond is five times the typical bond set for class 2 felonies in Colorado, Madden noted, but said it is necessary because of the circumstances of the case.

Reporter Elise Schmelzer contributed to this report.

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